In recent days the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office received numerous calls from citizens advising of telephone scams from subjects impersonating Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agents. These cowards target areas of the United States having large retirement/senior populations in hopes of intimidating those who may be vulnerable. The scammers, usually from foreign countries, will threaten jail time and civil penalties if their intended victim does not send money promptly. Citizens can be assured the IRS only corresponds through official or certified mail, never by e-mail or telephone. If contacted by telephone, hang up and more times than not they will move on.
Of course the IRS scam is just one of many currently circulating. It appears the most prevalent are through e-mail advising the recipient they have been named beneficiary of a large inheritance from a long lost relative in a foreign country. The scammer requests the recipient respond for additional details and to claim the money. The goal of the scam is to lure the recipient into providing their financial information (bank accounts/credit cards). Under no circumstance should personal or credit card information be shared over the internet without first establishing it will be used for a legitimate purpose. For internet security and computer protection, It is recommended to install anti-virus software from a reputable company and not to respond to suspicious e-mails or pop ups.
As a rule of thumb “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”. It is always prudent to take the time and consult family, a trusted friend or seek legal advice rather than act in haste. Legitimate business people and financial opportunities will wait another day. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) website provides a good overview of current scams, as well as safety tips for citizens. Those seeking more information are encouraged to use the below link. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office appreciates your continued assistance in keeping our community safe and informed.